South Africans who need uncapped data but don’t have access to a fixed connection have several mobile data packages to choose from.
Just two years ago, truly uncapped mobile data products were nowhere to be found, with the few “uncapped” mobile offerings having very strict fair usage policies (FUPs) that limited them to a few GBs of usage before your connection would drop to a snail’s pace.
The reason for this is clear. The lack of frequency spectrum in South Africa needed to carry mobile data traffic makes it difficult for operators to provide copious amounts of data to customers at cheap prices, as it could congest their networks.
Despite the spectrum challenge, some networks in South Africa do offer uncapped mobile data products.
Rain offers the widest range. While it initially launched capped fixed-LTE packages, the company made a name for itself with its off-peak uncapped package at just R250 per month, which it launched in June 2018.
This was followed by its 5G Premium package at R999 per month in November 2019, offering uncapped speeds faster than many fibre packages in the country.
A more affordable alternative, Rain’s 5G Standard product, was launched a few months later with a maximum download speed of 30Mbps at R699 per month — making it very competitive with fibre offerings at the time.
Rain upped the ante again when it launched its 24/7 Unlimited 4G SIM in March 2020 at R479, offering an uncapped connection that can go up to 10Mbps.
Although not the fastest package around, its price makes it attractive for those without any entry-level fixed line packages available in their area.
Rain also offers an uncapped 4G SIM for phones at R299 per month for people who only want uncapped data on their smartphone.
Rain is not the only operator that boasts uncapped packages.
As part of a Black Friday deal in 2020, Supersonic launched an uncapped fixed-LTE package that operates on MTN’s network at R999 per month.
The package has stuck around and can still be purchased on the Supersonic site.
Impressively, it has no fair usage policy, which means customers can expect up to 150Mbps speeds, dependent on network quality, without any proactive throttling on their connections.
Afrihost also offers an uncapped mobile data package on MTN’s network, although it is substantially more expensive at R2,949 per month and comes with a fair usage cap of 1TB, after which download speeds are reduced to 1Mbps.
Lastly, Telkom has been selling an uncapped mobile data service as part of its Smartbroadband Wireless products for some time, but unlike the other offers named above, it can only be purchased on a 24-month contract and not month-to-month.
The table below summarises the uncapped mobile data deals available in South Africa.
|Uncapped mobile data packages|
|Rain 19 hours Unlimited Off-peak||Best-effort service||
|Rain Unlimited 4G for phones||Best-effort service||
|Rain Unlimited 4G for any device||Up to 10Mbps||
|Rain Unlimited Home 5G Standard||Up to 30Mbps||
|Telkom SmartBroadband Wireless Unlimited||Up to 10Mbps — First 250GB
Up to 4Mbps — Next 50GB
Up to 2Mbps — Rest of usage
||R749 x 24|
|Rain Unlimited Home 5G Premium||“Ultra-fast” 5G speeds||
|Supersonic Home Broadband Fixed-LTE (MTN network)||Up to 150Mbps speeds||
|Afrihost MTN Uncapped Fixed-LTE
|Up to 150Mbps speeds for first 1TB, 1Mbps thereafter||